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A wide range of political parties took part in the CODESA (Convention for a Democratic South Africa) talks. After lengthy negotiations, an interim constitution was agreed upon that made it possible to go to the polls on 27 April 1994 for the first time on a one-man-one-vote basis. The ANC won the election by a wide margin, and Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first black president on 10 May 1994.

The interim constitution made provision for a government of national unity, and F.W. de Klerk became, together with Thabo Mbeki, a national deputy president.

Since then, the final constitution was produced by a multiparty Constitutional Assembly and signed into law on 10 December 1996, F.W. de Klerk left politics, Nelson Mandela retired and was replaced by Thabo Mbeki, the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission under the chairmanship of Desmond Tutu filed its report, and the land restitution programme is still on track. The current National President is Jacob Zuma.

The country had its fourth democratic election, and after 15 years of democracy, hopes to achieve an economic growth rate close to 4% in 2011, despite the world economic resession. We have eleven official languages, a new flag, a new national anthem (combination of new and old and sung in four languages at a time), new public holidays, a new coat of arms, and a new slogan (in San): “Our strength is in our diversity.”

We have certainly come from San to San.

Compiled by Jac du Toit.

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